Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) is a standard way to represent business processes graphically. Visio includes a template that contains the graphical elements described by the BPMN 1.2 specification.

  1. Click the File tab.

  2. Click New, click Flowchart, and then double-click BPMN Diagram.

  3. For each step in the process, drag a shape from one of the stencils to the page, and connect the shapes as usual.

    The BPMN specification calls for three types of connectors: Sequence Flow, Message Flow, and Association. Connectors you add by using AutoConnect or the Connector tool are Sequence Flow connectors by default. You can change the type by right-clicking the connector and then clicking the type you want in the shortcut menu.

    For general information about connecting shapes, see Connect shapes by using AutoConnect or the Connector tool.

  4. Set attributes of the objects in the process.

    Every BPMN shape has some underlying data, or attributes. These attributes specify the appearance of the shape, as well as additional data associated with the shape. Right-click the shape to view and change the main attributes in the shortcut menu.

    There are many advanced attributes for objects. To view and change these attributes, right-click the object, and then click BPMN Attributes. A window opens with the attributes ready for editing.

  5. Validate the workflow against the BPMN rule set:

    1. On the Process tab, in the Diagram Validation group, click Check Diagram.

    2. Fix any problems that appear in the Issues window.

      Validation checks only the graphical elements; it does not check the accuracy of attribute values. For more information about validation, see Validate a structured diagram.

Some visual changes that can be performed on shapes in flowcharts and other diagrams are not allowed in BPMN diagrams, because they are not allowed by the BPMN 1.2 specification. For example, you cannot change a sequence flow line to a grey dashed line, because it would look like a message flow.

For details about BPMN 1.2, you can visit the Web site of the Object Management Group at

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